Surviving Sunday: News, Notes and Analysis from Packers Training Camp
Now that Packers training camp is underway, Surviving Sunday is shifting gears a bit.
Gone is the lengthy opening column where I wax poetic about a topic that may or may not relate to the Packers. Also gone are the non-Packers links to non-sports items and other nonsense.
Starting now, Surviving Sunday will be 100 percent focused on the Packers and all the happenings from the previous week’s training camp practices and exhibition games. With training camp in full gear, the Packers are getting serious about the 2013 NFL season. It’s time for Surviving Sunday to get serious, too.
Aches and pains
Before the first practice even started, there were several Packers standing on the sidelines, injured. Perhaps the Packers need to fire their medical staff and just hire a bunch of people who work at a Fed Ex store and specialize in using bubble wrap to protect delicate items.
Here is the list of the walking wounded: DL/OLB Mike Neal (abdomen), CB Casey Hayward (hamstring), RB DuJuan Harris (knee), T Derek Sherrod (leg), DL Jerel Worthy (knee), OL J.C. Tretter (ankle), S Sean Richardson (neck), CB Davon House (illness) and LB Jamari Lattimore (illness).
Neal and Hayward hurt themselves training on their own and were surprise injuries (although, I’m not sure how surprising it should be any more when Neal turns up injured). It sounds like Hayward and Harris should both be out a week or two, but who knows.
Depending how long Harris is out, it could open up the door for Alex Green or James Starks to A) stay on the team and/or B) impress in camp and move up the depth chart.
If those injuries weren’t enough, rookie WRs Charles Johnson, Kevin Dorsey and Sederrik Cunningham also went down on the first days of practice. Someone needs to make a sacrifice to the football Gods so they show a little mercy on our favorite team. (Update: Sounds like Johnson will be fine.)
Drama and gossip
Aaron Rodgers’ first news conference of camp sounded more like a group of high school kids catching up on the latest gossip than a football media session. Rodgers addressed the Ryan Braun/PED situation — saying “it doesn’t feel great being lied to” — and basically dismissed the recent barbs Greg Jennings sent his way from across the border in Minnesota.
I understand that Rodgers needed to address these items, but here’s hoping that kind of stuff goes away now. I don’t care at all about the Rodgers/Braun relationship or whatever new soundbite Jennings provides the Minnesota media. I want to hear Rodgers talk about scheming against a cover-2 or what he thinks of some of his younger WRs, not his buddies who fib about HGH or ex-teammates trying to remain relevant by taking shots at the former MVP.
If you could make a mix tape for the Packers to practice to, what songs would you put on it?
If you come up with a good playlist, get in touch with Packers coach Mike McCarthy. The head coach is simulating TV timeouts and blaring music over the PA system during practice as a strategy for reducing injuries. It’s one of many things McCarthy said he’s trying to do to turn around his team’s recent stretch of bad injury luck.
We won’t know if any of McCarthy’s ideas make an impact until later this season and beyond, but I’m cool with the coach trying some new things.
My mix tape would contain a lot of Slayer, Mastodon, Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden. Those bands would get the softness out of the Packers’ defense in a hurry and turn their offensive line into a five-man destruction crew. Then again, maybe they’d be too wound up after hearing “Raining Blood” during practice and would start hitting each other harder, leading to even more injuries (and deaf players and coaches).
Positive injury news?
It sounds like Derek Sherrod may be making progress after sitting out the last 19 months with a terrible leg injury. Is this a ray of hope among all the doom and gloom Packers’ injury news?
I’ll believe Sherrod is making progress when he actually suits up for practice. Even then, how much can we expect from a guy who’s been out for nearly two years? I’m rooting for Sherrod because he seems like a good kid and the Packers could use all the help they can get on the line, but let’s not get too excited about a first-day-of-camp report.
In other offensive line news, Don Barclay is playing some center and struggled a bit snapping the ball to Aaron Rodgers on Saturday. It also appears that Marshall Newhouse is the No. 1 right tackle, for now.
- McCarthy singled out DB Micah Hyde for praise after the first day of practice. There are rumblings that the rookie from Iowa might be battling Jarrett Bush for a roster spot. We’ll see how that shakes out as camp continues.
- With all the injuries to the WRs, could the Packers give Donald Driver a call? James Jones says Driver might have the itch to keep playing. Nonetheless, Driver looked and played an old WR last season, and even with the injuries, I can’t see him helping the Packers much.
- Some other things worth reading from this week: Jayme Snowden on Johnny Jolly and addiction; John Rehor on the Packers running game — his first piece for 620WTMJ.com; No Huddle Radio tackles the top 10 Packers training camp topics; Brian Carriveau leads a crew of Packers and NFL analysts in previewing the Packers.
- The Packers have their first padded practice this morning. Now things will start to get even more serious. Keep visiting ALLGBP.com for all the latest Packers information as training camp progresses and real football approaches.